Thursday, 30 August 2012

Shanna manna namma bright red shirt

I saw this on facebook the other day and it made me laugh out loud.


Partly because I do that ALL the time. Mostly because Ollie is currently doing it ALL the time.

Right now, he’s obsessed with this:



And I mean obsessed. I have absolutely no clue how he found it, but he has to watch it fifty thousand times on the iPad every day and then spends the rest of the time singing the ‘words’ to himself as he plays. Except he gets them so wrong, it’s the cutest thing to listen to. They go a bit like this:

"UptownGirl
Nanalala budda white wed work
Shannamanna namma bright red shirt"

Then he trails off and comes back with a great rendition of the "whooaohh ohh" bit.

Hilarious. Although Glee on repeat was getting a little too much (and I'm a Glee fan, don't get me wrong), so he's now been introduced to the Billy Joel version, hence the dancing round the dining table last weekend.

Anyway. That is all. Thought it might make you smile. 

Are you a serial singer? Do you make up the words as you go? 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Does this make me a bad Mum? {and a birthday wishlist}


When Ollie turned one we threw him a party. It wasn’t huge, but we had a circustheme and I baked various party treats, including a great big chocolate cake.It was a really lovely celebration of his first year.

On the weekend that Lila turns one, Paul and I are away up in Scotland at a wedding. Without her. Cue big Mummy guilt for the poor old second child. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than a little excited about having a whole weekend of just me and Paul time, but I feel somewhat bad (ok, terrible), thatI won’t be waking up with my baby girl on the morning of her first birthday.

On the flipside, all this guilt means that I’m spending many a happy hour trawling the internet, looking for presents for her to open when we finally do arrive home (tired and hungover) for her birthday tea.

Here is what’s on my her wishlist at the moment (yes, I know they are all really girly, but that's just what happens when you have a boy first, ok?):

Night light – I saw this at a friends house the other day and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to add a warm glow to Lila’s bedroom this coming winter (sorry Rach, I’m going to have to copy that one!).


Ever Earth Fairy Tale Dolls House – my Mum found this lovely, eco-friendly brand in a local toy shop the other day. I hadn’t heard of it before but oh mydo they make some beautiful things. Not entirely sure this little wooden cottage is meant for a one-year-old, but she can grow into it. Right?


Djeco Tea set – Lila loves pretending to drink out of cups and passing them back and forth between her adoring fans. We already havea gorgeous Emma Bridgewater tea set but this little wooden gem caught my eye. (And pssst - you can get it for half the price on eBay).


Love Mae wall decals – we have a little green & pink (and oh so, unashamedly, girly) theme happening in Lila’s bedroom. And after stalking around the internet for quite some time trying to find the perfect wall sticker, I came across these on Claire's beautiful blog. So whimsical, so girly, so perfect.


Biscuit counting game – I love the vintage look of this little biscuit box. Again, it’s something Lady Lila would grow into, but I’m sure she’d enjoy stacking the little biscuits and putting them in and out of the box to start with. Plus they'd be the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea in those little pink cups.


Peepo! – we never did get round to adding this classic baby book to our collection. I think it may be time.



The Princess and the Pea I don’t for one minute believe I’ll be spending £70 on this beautiful little toy, but a girl can dream can't she?


Now, I wonder how many of these I can actually convince Paul that the female love of our life needs for her first birthday?! Wish me luck.

Do you have any recommendations for toys that a one year old would love? I'm all ears...

Friday, 24 August 2012

So far with the DSLR...

So as you know, we're in Cornwall this week. So instead of the usual Weekend Edition and subsequent posts, you get to enjoy various inane ramblings from me all week. Oh no wait, that's what usually happens on this blog! Anyway, on to the new love of my life.

My new toy had her first few outings last week and I am more than loving her work. I haven't the foggiest what I'm doing, but I'm working my way through the various auto options, before I start to tackle manual. 

It's all very exciting. This first week, with Lila as my model (Ollie was away at his Grandparents), I fired up Miss D60 and this is what happened: 



There is so much to learn, I'm keen to read as much about composition as I can find and I also need to figure out how to edit the images properly. 

So please tell me... Any favourite software recommendations? I've heard Lightroom is good? And why is there a little purple spot on those last two?! 

How to survive six hours in a car with two small children



We’re off to Cornwall tomorrow. I’m more than a little excited.

We’re spending the week at a lovely farm cottage just outside of Looe in South Cornwall. And I can’t wait. I’ve never been to Cornwall before so it will be lovely to explore that part of the country, plus it means a break from the same-old, same-old and I also get to spend a whole week with the big Hunk (did you know his nickname was Hunky Pants back in the day? No, didn’t think so), as well as my two beautiful kids.

However, before we arrive at that lovely, relaxing, enjoying part, we have to first get through a six-hour car journey. One that is set to take place on the busiest day of the year for travel (or something along those lines), given it’s the last week of the summer holidays and also a public holiday on Monday. What on earth were we thinking?

Now, we’re pretty well rehearsed when it comes to travelling with small children. I’ve done the Sydney-to-England-and-back-again route three times now and we also went to Bali on holiday when Ollie was around 20 months old. Each time we honed our skills and now have our method pretty much sorted. There are tips and tricks that make traveling with children so much easier, and I’m planning to use every single one of them to get us through this six-hour car journey in one harmonious piece.

So without further a-do, my six top tips for child-friendly travel are:

Presents – I like to wrap up small gifts for them to open as we go. Stickers are good, as are lots of different little books (you can carry more of them, so the fun lasts longer), activity books and pens for older children and small toys (but try to avoid ones with little removable parts – if bits get lost you could have a tantrum on your hands). For babies, toys that jingle or rattle or do something are always a winner. Wrap them before if you have a chance as this adds to the excitement and hand them out through the duration of the journey. It’s a sure way to keep them entertained.

Food – food, food and more food. I pack as many different snacks as I can hold and try to cover all bases. Healthy is good but treats are also so useful. As I’m sure you know, Organix offer a great range of snack foods in individual packages and I also like Panda (natural licorice) sweets and bear yo-yos for treats. On this journey, we’ll also have a breakfast picnic (we’re intending to leave at the crack of dawn), individual pots of various chopped fruit, raisons and cheese and crackers. Just try to turn a blind eye to the mess. Crumbs and banana gunk will be everywhere.

Music – if you don’t want to be stuck listening to that nursery rhyme CD on repeat, make sure you have your music sorted before you leave. Talking books are also great for something different and iPads or smartphones loaded with new apps they haven't seen before are a fantastic added trick-up-your-sleeve for those moments, like standstill traffic or a flight delay. Use sparingly though to get the full benefits.

Preparation – I’m not exactly one for packing days in advance, but I do like to think everything through and make lots of lists. The biggest thing with travel, whether by air or road, is making sure you have the right things in the right place at the right time. Like making sure all the food and presents are in easy reach (ie not in the boot or piled under other things in the footwell of the car) and that you have enough wipes, water and whatever else you need to hand so you don’t have to pull over every five minutes (or keep opening the overhead locker on an aeroplane).

It’s all in the timing – whenever I’m driving up and down the motorway I always try to time our drives with their sleeps. It makes the whole thing so much more bearable. Same with flying. For long haul, I always prefer an early evening flight, so the kiddos can eat, stay up a little later than usual and (hopefully) sleep when everyone else does. Our plan for Cornwall is to leave super-early, make a dent in the journey before we stop for lunch, then fingers crossed they will sleep for the last couple of hours. If that doesn’t work, we’ll stop as we need to and arrive late, but happy.

Have fun – If all else fails, I generally find that if we’re stuck somewhere in traffic and the ‘are we nearly there yets’ begin with full force, distraction is needed. For my energetic three year old, starting up a silly game, singing a silly song or even just talking in a silly voice always helps to buy us some extra time. It’s quite exhausting putting on a one-parent show, but five minutes without that question over and over is totally worth it.

Now, wish me luck and I’ll see you on the other side!

Do you have any fool-proof travel tips for kids? 

Ps. the photos of lovely Lila were taken on this, some by me, some by a wonderful friend.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Spoilt Bitch



We have this weird thing that we do in our family. We’ve done it for years and I haven’t a clue how it started, but it did. And it stuck.

We like to throw ‘bitch’ around as a term of endearment. Quite a lot.

Strange? I know. It started out as a little pet name for Mum (yep, really, really weird) – as in Dad would come home from work and ask ‘where’s the bitch?’ or ‘what’s the bitch up to?’. But then we extended its usage to things like ‘you cheeky bitch’ (which you might use to say you really didn't mind that I just pinched the last slice of chocolate cake) or ‘lucky bitch’ or ‘spoilt bitch’. The possibilities are endless. 

Now I’m fairly sure have to be there to get it. It’s all in the intonation you see. But anyway… I thought there should be a little explanation for the title of this post. Spoilt bitch. It’s totally how I felt on Monday. My birthday.

After opening some gorgeous presents from my parents on Sunday (vintage art deco brooch anyone?), I am also now the very proud owner of my first ever DSLR camera.

It’s a Nikon D60, bought second hand from a friend of a friend and I love it. On recommendation, Paul also got me a 50mm ‘nifty fifty’ lens, which I haven’t got a clue about, but I do like that fact that I have it. And it looks great in my new camera bag.

So you know what this means? The days of green tea & toast blog posts accompanied by little old iPhone shots are numbered. In their place I soon hope to be able to share with you some proper photos taken on my proper grown-up camera.

I’ve been spending many a happy moment fiddling around with all those buttons and dials and have a catch-up planned with a photographer friend to show me some of the manual ropes. It’s exciting. Something I’ve been wanting to learn for such a long time and now that time has arrived.

Tell me… do you have odd family sayings in your household? And do you have any DSLR tips you’d like to share for a novice like me?


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Weekend Edition


Yes, yes, I know it’s Tuesday, but birthdays make the weekend go on for much, much longer don’t they?

I turned 32 yesterday. Thirty two. Goodness. When did that happen?
In honour of turning 32 whole years we spent a truly wonderful weekend together - enjoying the sunshine, visiting family and eating cake.

It looked like this:


Saturday was hot. Very hot. Even by Australian standards. So instead of running around trying to buy to by a roof boot for our impending Cornwall holiday, we decided to pack up a picnic and go find some water. Abinger Hammer came up with the goods.

Nestled in the Surrey countryside, this pretty little village has a traditional village green with a stream running through the middle of it, just crying out for children (and their parents) wanting to paddle. We bought Oliver a fishing net and he spent a happy few hours making friends, catching tiny fish and cooling off. There were ice cream vans (don’t worry, Lila wasn’t allowed to eat that whole cone!), cricket matches and plenty glorious sunshine. And it couldn’t have been more English if it tried.

On Sunday we had a date in Dorset with Chris and Pui of Show me, Show me fame. They are doing a seaside theatre tour here at the moment and my Mum booked us tickets a few months back (what a birthday treat – my how times have changed!). We had lunch, ate cake, I opened presents, the kids played and we all danced around the dining room to Billy Joel (more on that another time). Then we drove to the theatre and waited for the show to begin.

My favourite moment of the day? Watching Lila’s reaction when the curtain rose. She was spellbound for the entire first half. Craning her neck to see every part, she didn’t miss a minute. And Ollie loved it too. So much so that he wailed the minute it ended.

And the show? It was good and the kids all loved it, although I felt it was a little lacking in something - that extra magic and sparkle that makes a stage show amazing. There were lots of songs and toys and characters, but it lacked any real story to tie it all together so at times is seemed a little hectic and disjointed. Still, it was worth it to see the look on the kids’ faces. Both of them seem to absolutely love going to the theatre (we went to see Hairy Maclary in Sydney a few months ago which was a huge hit) and I am definitely going to keep on the lookout for any children’s shows visiting our area in the coming months.

This birthday weekend certainly was different to the drunken, hazy, hungover ones of days gone by, but it was pretty damn perfect in every way.

Until next time… do you like taking your children to the theatre?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Eleven




Ok so I’m a week late with this post. But you know, chicken pox happened.

Lady Lila is now eleven months and a bit, hurtling towards one year. Most noticeably this girl now has an opinion on things. Oh the horror! My placid, easy going little princess has recently been replaced by one determined little monkey who is in. to. absolutely. everything.

The glory days of having a baby content to sit on my lap for extended periods of time are well and truly over and I am now forever washing filthy leggings with dirt-stained knees, fishing out stones and other small things from inside her squidgy cheeks or moving various objects out of reach. I even caught her licking a snail the other day. I know.

She has been practicing her free-standing. Actually, just standing in general, but now she can do it hands-free. It’s quite exciting and she’s oh-so pleased with herself. Just yesterday she even made it across the room with her baby walker and a few wibbly wobbly footsteps. Yet another step towards, well, stepping.

Standing has also lead to stair climbing and she can now hot-foot it up a flight of stairs on her hands and knees. Cute in theory, but I had a true heart-in-mouth Mama moment this week when I thought both kiddos were playing in the playroom together while I cleared away the breakfast things. When I finally tuned in to their chatter I realised, to my absolute horror, that Ollie had encouraged the little miss to climb the entire flight of stairs on her own. He was on the landing, she was sitting on her knees on the top step, beaming at him. Holy bejezus! Think it’s time to get a stair gate fitted.  




In other news, little Boo has two more teeth poking through, which totals six. She’s still sleeping like a dream and she has developed the most amazing way to cuddle. With her head on your shoulder and both arms hooked firmly around your neck, it’s like a proper big-girl, grown-up cuddle and is truly divine.

Her talking is coming along well. She has definite words for ball, book and bottle (the three b’s!) among others and tries to copy the sounds and syllables for everything she hears. Animal noises are fast becoming a favourite, particularly woof woof, baa baa and mooo. I really feel like I understand everything she’s trying to communicate now, which is a wonderful thing for us both.

And finally, in this month-of-Lila update, she's started these cute little role playing games - putting phones to her ear and saying 'ha ha' (hi) cuddling her teddies and dolls and saying 'ahhhh', drinking pretend drinks from the tea set, even attempting to brush her hair with my brush (gender stereotyping much?!). She must have been absorbing so much in that little eleven-month old brain of hers, and now is the time for her to put it all in to practice. 

As always I’m sure there is more I want to write. I wish I would learn that I’m actually not any good at remembering things and need to write it all down as it happens. Sigh.

Until that day… have you ever had one of those ‘holy shit’ parenting moments? 

You can read more month-of-Lila updates here:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

That's Better



The fog has lifted.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words the other day. It meant a lot to hear them and to know other people feel the same from time to time.

Thankfully, what I thought was going to be one helluva slow week has actually sped by pretty quickly. We’ve mooched here and there, enjoyed our own company, walked in the sunshine and in the rain, collected feathers, blew dandelions, had tea parties, baked, cooked, laughed and smiled.

Other things have helped. I finally got round to booking a much-needed haircut for this coming weekend. My first in my new town. I’ve been putting it off something chronic. I had the most amazing hairdresser in Sydney and consequently have been scared to see anyone else, but these wispy, dead old ends seriously need shaping up. It’s time. It also means a child-free, relaxing Saturday morning on the horizon and you can’t get better than that.

There was also a little retail therapy on the cards. We’re currently in a rental house and as always the house comes with rules. A no nail rule to be precise. Downstairs we have picture rails, so have been able to hang most of our paintings, but upstairs is a different story. For a while I’ve been on the look out for something to brighten up the children’s bedroom walls without having to bang in a nail, but until now hadn't quite found the right something. Cut to me browsing through the notonthehighstreet.com sale yesterday and this gorgeous wall sticker jumped straight out.


Ollie has been quite taken with all things London since arriving back in the country and thanks to the Jubilee, the Olympics and our day out. I think it will work perfectly to add a little colour to the walls and should tie in nicely with the boy paraphernalia we've collected so far. This particular store sells a variety of great boy-specific wall stickers and is definitely worth a look.

Now, shopping online is never complete without a little (ok, a lot of) window-shopping and I have now decided that I need some grey chevron cushions in my life.


Etsy and notonthehighstreet – you are way too addictive.

And the final smile-inducing antidote to the post-holiday blues? These lovely creations: 




My boy has suddenly worked out how to draw actual things and has been loving his new skill. His enthusiasm for drawing them is wonderful to watch and his ideas are endless. I can't wait for our walls to be filled with these masterpieces. 

Until then... are you an Etsy addict? How's your week going so far? 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Comedown












Poor little Lila caught chicken pox last week. It came out of nowhere and knocked her pretty hard. So instead of being trapped at home with two small children and nowhere to go, the three of us escaped to my parents place on the South Coast for some much needed help.

It was just what we needed. Dealing with a cranky, poorly baby is tough, but so much easier when there are two of you to share the load. And share it we did. It made all the difference. Instead of what could have been, we managed to enjoy a wonderful few days exploring forests, parks and beautiful beaches all while keeping Lila away from the public eye!

Consequently though, I’ve been feeling pretty blah today. Missing home, even though I’m home. Missing easy, comfortable catch-ups with old friends. Missing Sydney and everyone in it. Feeling a bit sorry for myself that I’m back to the usual, same old routine (or lack of it). Everything just seeming a bit too hard. 

We’ve had a quiet, easy day at home today. Little miss has turned a corner in the last 24 hours and is so much better (chicken pox really does go on forever). Ollie has been happily reunited with his toys. But with the days stretching out ahead of me and not much to fill them, I can’t help but feel like this is going to be one long week.

I guess I need to take stock of these lovely, happy weekend photos, go and get a long, warm hug from the big man and go kiss my two gorgeous little ones goodnight. And hopefully everything will seem brighter in the morning. 

Tell me… how do you pull yourself out of a ‘blah’ patch?  
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